3 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayNo Lunch MondayNo Lunch TuesdayNo Lunch WednesdayNo Lunch ThursdayNo Lunch FridayNo Lunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Jacques-Imo’s

Uptown 4: Riverbend, Carrollton & Broadmoor: 8324 Oak. 504-861-0886. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Jacques-Imo’s is a cult restaurant, so popular that eating there almost always requires as a preface a good bit of time waiting, out on the sidewalk. This owes to an intentional funky-chic style many people believe is indispensable for a genuine New Orleans dining experience. The food is along the same lines, with a latter-day pop-Cajun quality that stops just short of cliche. It’s very convincing at the atmospheric level.

WHAT’S GOOD
Jacques-Imo’s food really is good. It’s made with more-than-decent ingredients and cooked with genuine local flavors and techniques. On the other hand, it’s not quite as mind-blowingly fantastic as its most fervent fans would have you believe.

BACKSTORY
Owner Jack Leonardi, former K-Paul’s chef (and Tulane MBA), opened Jacques-Imo’s in 1996. In the beginning, when the place wasn’t very busy, he’d come to your table, as what you’d like to eat (that could be almost anything you wanted then), and return to the kitchen to cook it. Or Austin Leslie–legendary New Orleans soul-food chef, who was associated with the restaurant back then–would fry his fabulous chicken for you. After a year or so, the menu gelled, Jack expanded his dining areas, and the phenomenon was born. It became the keystone of a growing restaurant community in the historic Oak Street commercial district. In 2002, Jack opened Crabby Jack’s, a combination commissary for the cramped restaurant and a poor-boy restaurant, in Old Jefferson.

DINING ROOM
The kitchen is in the middle of the old, minimally decorated building. You walk through it to the larger of the two dining rooms, a sort of hut built into what was once a courtyard. A few tables are scattered here and there in the rest of the building. All have a vague Creole voodoo in their decor.

Some of the tables are very unusually placed. There’s one in the back of a truck parked in front of the restaurant, and more on the sidewalk on both sides of the street. All of this contributes to the laughs.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
»Shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake
»Fried grits with tasso shrimp sauce
Stuffed shrimp with Magnolia sauce
Fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade
Eggplant Jacques-Imo’s (oyster dressing, wild mushroom sauce)
Fried oysters, spicy garlic sauce
Chicken livers on toast
»Fried rabbit tenderloin with creole mustard sauce
»Duck and andouille gumbo
»Fried calamari with spicy garlic sauce
Oyster brie soup
Steamed mussels with tomato-basil broth
Entrees
Stuffed catfish, with crabmeat dressing
»Blackened tuna, oyster, champagne and brie sauce
Seafood platter
Roast acorn squash, seafood, curry coconut cream sauce
Shrimp Creole
Shrimp etouffee
»Fried mirliton, fried oysters, oyster tasso hollandaise
Mushroom-stuffed grilled salmon, black bean and ginger sauce
»Cajun bouillabaisse (oysters, shrimp, mussels, fish)
Grilled mahi mahi, curry tomato sauce
»Blackened redfish, crab chili hollandaise
Swordfish, mojo sauce
Grilled amberjack, green tomato crab sauce
»Crawfish etoufee
»Potato crusted Gulf fish, caper beurre blanc
Grilled mahi mahi, pistachio sauce, asparagus, shrimp
Grilled escolar, artichoke ginger mushroom sauce
»Flash-fried whole flounder, crabmeat stuffing
Eggplant pirogue, seafood, lemon-cheese sauce
Grilled sea bass, butternut squash, shrimp
Amberjack provencal
Vegetarian delight, Thai coconut cream
»Barbecue shrimp
Bronzed swordfish, jalapeno pecan meuniere
»Chorizo-stuffed redfish roulade
»Smothered chicken with biscuits
»Fried chicken
Chicken Pontalba (bearnaise sauce)
Grilled duck breast, orange-soy glaze, shiitake mushrooms, pecans
»Stuffed pork chop
Blackened lamb sirloin, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms
Deep fried roast beef po-boy
Pork osso buco
»Carpetbagger steak, blue cheese, oysters, hollandaise
»Panneed rabbit, oyster tasso pasta
»Smothered rabbit, roasted pepper grits, hollandaise
»Panneed duck, sweet potato shrimp sauce
Country fried venison, wild mushrooms

FOR BEST RESULTS
Avoid dining here at Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, or any other time that brings in large numbers of young New Orleans fans. They’ll take reservations (no more than a month in advance) for five or more people, which makes life much easier. Beware enormous portions; two courses is plenty. Know that the restaurant closes for the month of August.

The reservation system is curious: you can only reserve for five or more people. And some of the tables are unusual

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
A certain amount of chaos is inherent in the Jacques-Imo’s act, and probably could not be remedied without changing the experience. The platters can have so much food that they become a mess.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment -1
  • Consistency -1
  • Service
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +2
  • Local Color +3

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Courtyard or deck dining
  • Many private rooms
  • Open Monday dinner
  • Historic
  • Unusually large servings
  • Reservations accepted

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